The Basic Understanding of Communism

A closeup of China's national flag which represents a country that practices and upholds the laws of Communism
... Hung_Chung_Chih/iStock/Getty Images

Communism is, at its most basic, the notion that all people should share the wealth of the world. In modern times, Communism is only actively practiced in a handful of countries, most notably China. The philosophy was more widely practiced in countries around the world during the 20th century.

1 A Response to the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, the rise of mass production greatly changed society. Before that time, workers produced goods and brought them to the marketplace, essentially as owner-operators of small businesses. With machines, individuals were no longer able to produce goods and compete in the marketplace. According to Communist theory, these workers became part of the proletariat class, at the mercy of the bourgeoisie class that owned the factories. Communism seeks to erase this class system, and put all profits and material wealth in the hands of all people. A well-known phrase among Communists is “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.